2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 23

I’ve been having a wonderful April, and I hope you have too. Counting this morning’s poem, I think I’ve already written more than 30 poems this month (not all of my writing ends up on this blog), and I’m pretty happy with a few of the poems I’ve written for this challenge.

Yes, this has been another great National Poetry Month, and here’s a great kit to celebrate: The Writer’s Digest National Poetry Month Kit, which includes a digital version of The Poetry Dictionary, a couple paperbacks (Creating Poetry and Writing the Life Poetic), a tutorial on building an audience for your poetry, the 2014 Poet’s Market, and more! Click to continue.

For today’s prompt, write a location poem. Location could be physical–like the laundromat, a public park, a glacier, flying saucer, etc. Or location could be emotional, psychological, metaphysical, or some other kind of word that ends in -al. Or surprise everyone!


Daniel Nester

Daniel Nester

Free up your poetry with constraints!

Learn how putting constraints on your poetry through poetic forms, blank verse, and other tricks can actually free up your poetry writing skills and enhance your creativity in Writer’s Digest’s first ever Poetry Boot Camp.

This boot camp will be led by April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge guest judge Daniel Nester, author of How to Be Inappropriate and editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology, and it will include a one-hour tutorial, personalized Q&A on a secure “attendees-only” message board, feedback on three original poems, and more.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Location Poem:


i am over here
and you’re over there

if you move here
i’ll move there

i used to be there
where you are

but i moved
when you arrived

nothing personal
not trying to be a jerk

i mean i am
but don’t take it that way

that would be so like you
taking things like that

and here you come
so there i go


Today’s guest judge is…

Erika Meitner

Erika Meitner

Erika Meitner

Erika’s first book, Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore, won the 2002 Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and was published in 2003 by Anhinga Press. Her second book, Ideal Cities, was selected by Paul Guest as a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series competition, and was published in 2010 by HarperCollins. Her third collection, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls, was published by Anhinga Press in 2011. Her newest collection of poems, Copia, is due out from BOA Editions in 2014.

In addition to teaching creative writing at UVA, UW-Madison, and UC-Santa Cruz, Erika has worked as a dating columnist, an office temp, a Hebrew school instructor, a computer programmer, a lifeguard, a documentary film production assistant, and a middle school teacher in the New York City public school system.

Meitner is currently an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the MFA program, and is also the associate faculty principal of Hawthorn House (one of the residential colleges at Virginia Tech).

Learn more here: http://erikameitner.com/.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. The book includes poems in a Kroger parking lot, at an arboretum, and other locales. Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


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823 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 23

  1. ianchandler


    your patch of skin
    must itch
    as you sip your drink
    in a chair
    in a building
    in Ohio
    among the barley fields
    now you’re gone
    surprised by a stranger
    who leads you
    over there.

  2. barbara_y

    The Listings

    These keys, un-fashionable islands where I laze,
    intersect three axes.
    Long number strings–self-indulgent as hammocks
    and mango mimosas–
    fail the test of clear brevity. (I wallow in details like
    “tangerine” and “nubby.”)
    Out, beyond the surf and safe from seduction,
    Puritans flap storm flags.
    A toast to their concision. A postcard from this island
    outweighs their fleet.
    Find me butt-sunk and drifting downstream, slow.
    Clouds here are hung on monofilament, and swing.

  3. Andrea Z

    Route 104

    The car shakes violently
    and lets out a painful, whining growl
    as I turn onto Route 104.
    I’m forced to pull over,
    and I jump out to assess the damage.
    I find that my tire is missing.
    An obstruction in the wheel well
    Has blown my tire to smithereens!
    I am silently shocked
    the car is in one piece.
    I am stranded on Route 104, at 1 a.m.
    and realize I have no one to call.
    Thankfully, chivalry is not dead.
    A passing police officer stops,
    and offers to bring me home.
    I leave with him,
    but my car is left stranded
    on Route 104
    with only three tires remaining.

  4. seingraham


    When I think you are gone for good and all
    and I am fine again, centred and well
    Tears creep into words unbidden and before
    I know why, I am wobbly with uncertainty

    In the third last line of that poem about the
    other little one who died such an awful way
    Not so awful as your demise, of course, but
    pretty horrid all the same…
    when I was reading it aloud for the first time,
    I choked, I mean it
    I fell to pieces when I got to the part telling
    him to go – to leave this place and soar…

    This doesn’t happen to me…I mean melt-downs
    over my own writing…and I found myself
    wondering if the two of you – that little guy
    and you –
    If you were together in the ether near me
    Haunting me so vividly, I could sense
    your presence
    And I couldn’t insist that either of you
    should go away

    Then, I learned that your father had his day
    in court, the day after I read
    And I knew you were here…I felt your presence
    Knew if I just stood still enough, you would float
    to where I was and alight upon me
    But not knowing if I had the sanity for this
    I kept moving…
    Then, just before bed, I forgot – slowed right
    down and stopped
    You were on me like a vampire or something
    Oh – that sounds so melodramatic and wrong

    But, it felt as if you had waited for just the right
    moment and place
    And now you had me and were settled around
    me like a too tight shirt
    Laying your tiny head against my chest…
    I felt crazed with your sadness and with my own
    Will this never end, this mourning for you…

  5. IndiFox

    Questions For Emily

    Where do you run?
    When you run away from me?
    Is it to the lake?
    Or the old oak tree?
    Do you remember swinging from that tyre?
    And later how it broke?
    Or how we found your mother?
    Hanging from the same rope?

  6. cmjones


    Living with a disease called the east coast
    The sky assumed the exact same shade of meteorological hope,
    Blue, as it had the morning of
    The occurrence of the tornado,
    Which had begun with a
    Party celebrating the birthday of someone long
    Dead who would have been 54. He died at 23.
    Sometimes the cut itself is the punch line, sometimes
    The punch line is performing retrieved acts of civility, is
    Alerting authorities to a faucet that never stops
    Running in a rest stop off I-95, south of D.C. but
    North of Richmond.

    Chad Jones

  7. KiManou

    Near Light

    and the Natural Neon lights expose
    every Nuance
    between the Nile and Nairobi
    there you will find me
    sipping Nectar
    observing the Nebula
    creating our Nexus
    waiting Nestled
    where U-n-I-verse Naked
    Near light


  8. Michele Brenton

    Whale, not a fish, out of water.

    A beached whale decomposes and bloats
    as the methane fills its body
    and if there is no route for the pressure
    to be released – it explodes
    very messily
    emitting a pungent smell
    that taints a large area long after
    the physical evidence has been removed.

    There are many YouTubes of this phenomenon
    I have watched most of them.
    People find them amusing.
    I find them to be too close for comfort.

    It has been many years since I felt the freedom
    of seawater buoying me effortlessly.
    I miss the light-play glinting on shoals of fish
    and the rhythmic sway of weed,
    the texture moods of stone, sand, shell, pebble
    and the corner-of-the-eye dart of octopus and squid.

    I dream these days of being free from the pull of gravity
    and lack of air seems a trifling bargain willingly given
    for such glorious power and control.

    I tried to call it grounded
    to fool myself this was a good place to be
    and as my carcass swelled I faked serenity,
    smiling as I smoothed my hair with a mother-of-pearl brush
    ignoring the stabs of pain inflicted by my weight pressing on the rocks.

    Loggerhead turtles lumber, heads above the water in my memories,
    a knowing look in their eyes.
    I can’t maintain pretence when I contemplate my loss of place
    in the sheltering sea
    and grounded is a silly substitute for


    as I am
    and how much of me has died and rots
    and is this weeping enough to save this place
    from the taint of my explosion?

    Michele Brenton April 2014

  9. Amirae Garcia

    Location Unknown – Amirae Garcia

    Don’t you remember how you used to be there for every birthday party, every soccer game, and every insignificant school play? Remember the look on my face as you went through the doors, looking like a war hero returning home to his lifetime lover?

    You do remember that I am your lover, right? You used to be everywhere, all over me. You used to linger on my hips and live on my mouth, sighing hallelujahs on my tongue in the only language we knew; and now I can’t get you to hum with me.

    You have gone so far away to a location unknown and I am here, I am here, I am here. Come back to me, come back to me, come back to me.

  10. foodpoet

    They say everything is location
    My cat is
    I did not dress today.
    She purred and got ready to cuddle.
    I log into the computer and fuss
    And enter credentials and download
    My Cat is
    And ignoring her.
    I test telecommuting
    Work from home for the first time
    Muddle through me and my
    Location is

    Megan McDonald

  11. Aberdeen Lane


    your history, still
    ebullient among the concrete
    your jazz pulls
    at forgotten strings
    stretching across looms
    the triangulation of
    while lollygagging on
    the subway

    you take me in
    hiss honk sniff
    melding into dreams
    the mares of night
    bucking through
    calling for alertness
    the senses alive

    wind whipping
    into new distractions
    give me your food
    your art
    your whispers
    tell your story
    for you call me
    in my dreams
    to come visit again

  12. C.

    A shadow lurks in the corners of my mind.
    Always lurking, cautiously, slyly, eerily waiting by my side.
    Snow, sunshine, rain, I see me walking pass the window by,
    And yet, I linger haunted, by this same melodic rhyme.
    Night sings to me, at times, sings mournful songs of bliss,
    While Daylight finds its way, through creamy satin slits.
    Beautifully swaying, like wind gliding across the sand
    While I sit, slowly unraveling, sand pebbling down glass hands.
    Waiting, treading, drowning, this all while you hide?
    Grasping, clutching, clamping hold of something deep inside.
    What is your name? Monster speak now
    You here?! Put a name to your face that horrid face I fear!
    Creeping, crawling under me, I feel traces of your filthy slime,
    Yet you lie, hidden, deeply veiled by fragile sheets of time.
    So I shook my wrist slowly, watched it fall down to the last
    Grain of sand, sweeping gently, across my frozen hands.

  13. Mariya Koleva

    April Poem-A-Day 23 – Location

    Location: Fear
    a thousand-eyed reality
    existing in a parallel universe
    denying the very probability
    of its own being.

    Location: within my heart
    close to me
    deep in my thoughts
    denying light and joy
    a whirlwind of ungentle
    the X
    which marks the spot.

    Location: near.

  14. gloryia


    Windows small, open wide
    on the loveliest place
    where I can hide.

    Behind the rocks, silken,
    sand covers my toes, helping
    me forget my woes.

    A favourite place, near water blue
    beside the sea, will always be
    the place for me,

    and you.

  15. PenConnor

    Nowhere (a roundabout)

    Our hearts can’t keep chasing our feet,
    making circles this way.
    Something must give,
    and I can’t live
    with this heartache each day

    I feel your heart and it’s dismay.
    The pain I must forgive.
    You chose to leave.
    I choose to grieve.
    The break we will outlive.

    I wish you could yourself forgive.
    I wish I could believe,
    someday we’ll meet,
    healing complete.
    Perhaps I am naïve.

    Today our hearts need a reprieve.
    I long for a retreat.
    You chose your way;
    there’s naught to say.
    We should admit defeat.

  16. Nanamaxtwo

    Beginning Road to Sobriety

    Sobriety, a dreaded place to live, eats a man alive:
    seismic ruptures of limbs and heart, stone cold issuing up
    from beneath neural drama, sweat pressed through every pore,
    like dry ice searing the chemical mix of blood with blood.
    Addiction swathes me in an ancestor’s quilt, each crazy
    patch mismatched as through the years of irrational craving
    I nitpicked stitches apart, unraveled trims, shredded fabric
    basic to my structure, until all connections dissolved.
    Sobriety chokes my spirit while I vomit from the need,
    the beast that won’t release me unless I die.

  17. Emma

    You cannot tame the mountain.
    She is a dragon:
    Exhilarating, Incredible, Beautiful.
    She may captivate, inspire, entertain,
    But she is not your friend.
    She will not hesitate to bury you if you take the wrong path.

  18. d dyson

    The Station

    Every night in dreams
    I am facing desolate ruins
    carrying whispers of lost voices
    on the wind.
    I gaze upon the station clock
    surrounded by serene blue,
    hands frozen on time
    whilst dust dances full of verve
    amidst beams of light
    striking through glassless window frames.
    Moss green seats line the walls
    awaiting their turn to take the weight
    off aching feet.
    I am hurrying through the emptiness
    trying to locate the right exit
    weary of the lack of queues at each stand
    with my ticket grasped firmly in my hand
    aiming to head safely home.

  19. horselovernat

    The Quiet Song of Earth by Natalie Gasper

    A flower is a simple thing
    With its roots and stems, and petals and leaves.
    A beautiful sight for all to behold
    But how many can truly see?
    This gentle flower may be hiding great secrets,
    Those delicate petals there to share with all a story.
    Or perhaps they simply desire to make us laugh
    Best lean in close to hear their soft-whispered words.

    Just think of all the flowers that lay at peace within the forest,
    Surely none has time to hear to them all.
    Instead, one might listen to the trees.
    Far greater are they in number; their stories longer
    They have more to share.
    Flowers share only simple beauty, whereas trees share a lifetime
    The life of a flower is but a blink of time in the eyes of a tree.
    To imagine the change they have seen!
    Centuries back their wide reach spans,
    Remembering a time when nature was harmonious with man;
    Wanting for those days to come once more.

    These trees share desire, but also know grief
    For the loss of their brothers,
    Joy at the start of each sun kissed day.
    To those who listen with an open mind they bring comfort,
    As sitting in a tree; to feel its strong, sturdy boughs that have survived violent storms,
    Ever graceful as they dance in the wind,
    Is to know the true meaning of comfort.
    Understanding this, one can share in the knowledge of the trees
    That standing alone does not a lonely heart make, and that
    While all may exist separately our roots forever connect.

    Smiling at this newfound understanding,
    This man sitting in the tree turns
    Able to see the forest in a new light.
    As he looks, he spies an old man in the distance
    Resting upon a cliff, deep in meditation.
    Smugly the man thinks his knowledge greater
    For what could a rock teach?

    But this old man is wise.
    He spent his life listening to the stories of the flowers and the trees,
    Feeling in his heart as though something was askew.
    Thinking that in viewing the forest as a whole he would find his answer
    He climbed a cliff, and closed his eyes,
    And heard the wind.

    The wind has the most difficult job,
    Carrying the songs of all to make a sonorous melody.
    He whispers gently through the forest, quietly passing through the flowers,
    Bringing their sweet stories to life.
    He rustles the leaves of the trees as they dance playfully in his silken grasp.
    If one listens closely the wind carries an intricate song
    That sends shivers down humanity’s spine.
    For in this melody the wind holds the truth,
    Showing the eternal beauty in nature.

    As the old man resting upon the cliff
    Listens intently to the story within the wind,
    He hears the flowers and the trees;
    The harmony of the gurgling streams and babbling brooks
    And feels the power of the mountains behind him.

    Those ancient giants who move for none and have lived through all,
    Said to be home to Father Time,
    Because the passage of time means little to them
    As they stand guard for all eternity.
    Mountains create the most breath-taking sights;
    Purple hued in the winter and capped with gleaming snow.
    When the moon leaves the starry night sky,
    The mountains will dance with the rising sun,
    Throwing shadows and bright rays of color as far as the eye can see.
    The wind is the child of these powerful guardians,
    Forever whistling around their feet;
    Helping eagles to soar through majestic skies.

    One eagle comes to rest upon the cliff
    To share nature’s secrets
    With the old man Father Time.
    Releasing a cry, his mighty wings outspread,
    The great sun bursts forth
    As all the forest begins to wake.

    The meadowlark begins to chirp in time
    With the echoes of deer bounding through the trees,
    Floating as if carried by the whispers upon the wind.
    This is real and true.
    Nothing exists in the world that can best
    The unending symphony of nature’s beauty,
    Of the earth’s pure spirit.

  20. jclenhardt


    The hills
    were like finely
    crafted lines;
    the perfect
    of words
    by a Wordsmith,
    who dipped
    his pen into
    the valleys
    to draw rivers
    with his words,
    that branched out
    into the streams
    that fed the forests,
    so the clearings
    in between
    could grow
    the wildflowers,
    I’d pick in
    to make bouquets
    for my Mother;
    of Queens Lace,
    of Bachelor Buttons,
    and of the Wild
    Sweet Peas,
    who’s fragrance
    carried with them
    the beauty of his
    an arrangement
    of letters
    given for me.

  21. Alaska Christina

    Memory of Home

    All through the house
    the vacant rooms rest
    Candles unlit
    dust-covered dishes
    Cobwebs cling to picture frames
    of loved ones long gone
    Shards of memories
    blanket the stillness
    Of laughter and joy
    of tears and grief
    Warmth from fires to ease the cool nights
    books to read and read again
    Letters written, sent received
    sharing news from near and far
    movement of thoughts pulsing
    And each quiet space
    breaths a life of moments unceasing
    Once vibrant and alive
    now whispers of silence deafen
    With only faint echoes for company
    ghosts pace against the narrow halls.

  22. JayGee2711

    Milk River

    The wind is a spooked horse charging
    across the open plain, mane and tail
    stretched straight back, dead grass
    shivering in waves.

    You buy an apple pastry from
    the glass case, all buttery crumbs and
    autumn chill. A tumbling sun spins
    across the road. You watch it go
    and you drive on.

    In the west, a back yard fenced by
    mountains, tattered storm clouds flutter
    on the line. A hawk hovers above
    a stubble field, circling to the
    silent beat of drums.

    It makes you feel like one of them,
    the hoodoo stones, the warriors who
    guard the Sweetgrass Hills. You sit among
    them as the river glints below,
    and listen to their stories drift
    and settle into you.

    Julie Germain

  23. BezBawni

    Place in Life

    sweet formula, my mother’s song
    wet sheets and talking animals
    I’m in a good place now

    a talking doll, the alphabet
    a book about Madeline
    I’m in a good place now

    got spots, and weird body parts
    one thing is clear: boys are jerks
    I’m in a good place now

    I am size 6, that’s sooo fat!
    but well, my boyfriend is a stud
    I’m in a good place now

    I can’t believe, my own kids!
    my own anti-age cream too
    I’m in a good place now

    warm quilt, a pair of socks, hot tea,
    I’m looking at the book I wrote
    now I am in a good place
    by Lucretia Amstell

  24. Poetess

    Diamond In The Rough

    How I hunger for you
    You who I long to know
    Show yourself to me
    Summoned seed please grow

    Here in this lone place
    Craving a warming touch
    A foul player is at hand
    Vanquishing in me much

    Amuse me misuse me
    It’s my battle I cry
    How can I be offended
    There is no me no lie

    Mad and sad so cold
    How can I keep warm?
    I’m not really there
    The silhouette hasn’t formed

    Whirling my weary way
    Through this thick darkness
    The journey of my self
    Lost and pained and harnessed

    A wolf in sheep’s clothing
    Always looking to devour
    The dirty denial inside
    Consuming it by the hour

    Preying and being preyed
    A hungry place to be
    I can never satisfy it
    We my shadow and me

    Surrounded by it now
    Stealthily on the prowl
    A pair of skillful predators
    Thirsting together we howl

    Crazed and abandoned
    Looking to find a meal
    Will we consume it
    Or will it eat us for real?

    At the end of the spiral
    Lies the bottom of the pit
    Dizzy in this atmosphere
    I need sunrise from this fit

    Starved for who I am
    All I have is me
    Feeding on my solitude
    Letting go and setting free

    Bearing a birth this death
    Conclude it with great strain
    Vanish and be nameless
    Gone the anonymous pain

    There you are shining there
    Unpolished with edges
    A raw piece of reflection
    Poking through deep dredges

    Sparkling there I see
    You’ve been there all long
    Buried and hidden
    Refusing to play your song

    You’re pushing new ground
    Inching out some maturity
    Breaching the old barrier
    Of flawless obscurity

    I’ll cultivate and care for you
    Helping you to mend
    I’ll soften your rough edges
    Strength I’ll give and lend

    Satiated I’ll become
    Knowing a new light
    Seeing it so fully
    Claiming this fresh fight

    Cutting a beautiful edge
    Will be my new obsession
    Putting on finishing touches
    Polishing my possession

    A jewel precious and true
    So brilliant it can’t hide
    For one perpetually seeking
    Finds it searching undenied

    I see the twinkle in my eye
    And I will be enough
    To light my future path
    A diamond in the rough

  25. Penny Henderson


    Words creep off the pages
    of books that surround me.
    They form a conga line,
    switching spots so freely
    that I cannot keep pace.
    New sentences emerge.
    Strange mystical meanings
    float about them converge.
    I snatch some letters from
    the musty flustered air
    and paste them in blank books.
    The pages they fled from
    don’t know or care.

  26. jacq

    Tannery Park by Jacqualine A Hart

    In the midst of a lion’s roar
    all I could hear above the
    one in my ear was my
    colleague, Tannery Park
    7 p.m., don’t be late

    Kayaks lined the river
    like a box of cigars
    waiting for the release of pleasure
    as we step into our
    wooden like caskets

    As if bobbing for apples
    too tired to stand
    I saw him there
    dragging the current along

    The moment erupted
    “Call 9-1-1”
    “Roger toss me a line”
    Gentle as a newborn we guided
    our unknown visitor to shore

    Hands that once clapped
    at his child’s recital
    now shriveled and cold
    Arms that wrapped love lay
    lifeless in this unexpected resting place

    Reds and blues flash
    across the earthen tones
    attendants gather as if
    paying respects and yellowing of
    “police line do not cross”

  27. shethra77

    Alternative Locations

    In the valley falls the rain.
    Train tracks hold the rumbling train.
    Pirates sail the Spanish Main,
    But I don’t know where that is.

    Lots of birds build nests in trees.
    Dogs and cats are homes for fleas.
    Castles held the lords of Guise.
    (But I’ve lived in none of these.)

  28. Heidi


    The sleeping bear
    did not awake
    as she swept passed
    his slumbering

    A night hike up
    snow plated slopes,
    mittened fingers
    scrape ice off win-

    Past buckberry
    thistles pushing
    sunrise into
    her kitchen steam-

    greetings of cof-
    fee, hugs, hellos.
    She knows aloes
    with onions will

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  29. Michael Wells

    Location, Location, Location

    Not everything is about business.
    Some people’s business is nobody’s
    business if you know what I mean.

    People are always making a point
    of location. It’s all about the location—
    and I get a text that says I can be located

    by a certain number— my wife’s number.
    I’m suspect the government knows too
    but are not obliged to tell you so.

  30. LeighSpencer


    It’s dark sometimes

    Light permeates
    an occasional wall crack
    stirring up dust to swirl
    and settle on delicate cobwebs

    My old things cast
    frightening shadows
    so much larger
    than they were in life

    I worry for the things I can’t find

    If not here
    then where?

    Sit in the creaking rocking chair

    Back and forth
    Back and forth
    Again and again

    Replaying each failure
    each missed chance
    to do things differently
    to be a different, better me

    Old wood creak
    sounds like voices

    My mother
    My lover
    My own

    A chorus of unanimous disappointment
    endlessly, rhythmically creaking

    I can’t leave
    but it lulls me to sleep

    It’s dark sometimes

    in my head

  31. sbpoet

    Dream Home

    Each night is the same as the last.

    You wander, searching for a place

    to be. You are moving house, or you

    have just moved or plan to move.

    Tiny apartments, vast decaying

    mansions, high-rises with elevators

    that won’t start or stop or take you

    where you want to go.

    Each night is unlike the last. You walk

    dark streets in the rain. Every room

    opens into another. Windows look out

    over the channel, whales breeching.

    Underground chambers. Locked doors.

    Warehouses of cast-offs and deep

    treasures. Bare rooms with tall casements

    and linoleum floors. Birds beat

    against the glass, air thick

    with white feathers. It’s difficult

    to breathe underwater. You worry

    it will never end. Your legs wane

    rubbery with walking. You want

    to sit down but all the furniture

    is elderly, it wobbles, and it is so,

    so quiet. The very walls echo

    with silence. You have lived here

    before. You will live here again.

    Room after room after room,

    you will keep looking.

    ~ sharon brogan


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